Los Angeles is once again at war with its taco trucks. Last year, the city passed an ordinance limiting trucks to one-hour parking on commercial streets and 30 minutes on residential streets. Truck owners could mostly afford to ignore the rule because the punishment was a paltry $60 fine. Now, however, LA County has passed a law that makes exceeding the time limit a misdemeanor crime, which means noncompliant owners face a $1,000 fine—or even possible jail time.
Some taco truckers vow resistance. “They can try to move us, but we’re not going to go,” one told the Los Angeles Times. “What are they going to do, take us all to jail?”
Restaurant owners have long complained that the catering trucks, with their lower overhead, are putting them out of business. “We have received many complaints from restaurant owners who say it is very hard to do business after 6 p.m. because catering trucks park very near restaurants,” Louis Herrera, president of the Greater East Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, tells the Times.
The pro–taco truck side has hired a lawyer, however, who counters, “To make a misdemeanor out of the sale of foods and beverages is low.” He continues, “They’re not selling porno, they’re not selling drugs. This is food and beverages.”
David Weigel at Reason Magazine’s blog thinks the real reason for the crackdown is that “[t]ruck-bound vendors don’t have to pay property taxes.”